The second game of the three-match Test series between South Africa and India will be played at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg from January 3. India lead the series by a 1-0 margin and will be looking to wrap things up in the second Test.
We witnessed an intense battle between bat and ball in the first Test at the SuperSport Park in Centurion. India batted first and posted 327 on the board, thanks to a brilliant century from KL Rahul. He was well-supported by Mayank Agarwal and Ajinkya Rahane. Lungi Ngidi starred with the ball for the hosts, picking up six wickets.
The Proteas were bundled out in 197, courtesy of a fifer from Mohammad Shami. With a handy lead of 130, India came out to bat but were knocked over on 174. The Proteas faltered in the chase as their batters failed to adapt to the conditions and they were cleaned up on 191, falling short by 113 runs.
Temba Bavuma was their lone fighter in both the innings. The Indian pacers wreaked havoc to help their side get an early lead in the series.
The second Test provides a great opportunity for Kohli’s men to continue their dominance in away Tests. South Africa will be without the services of Quinton de Kock and that further complicates matters for them. They need to be at their absolute best to keep the series alive.Mark Boucher (2012), Jacques Kallis (2013), Graeme Smith (2014), JP Duminy (2017), AB de Villiers and Morne Morkel (2018), Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn (2019), Vernon Philander (2020), Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock (2021) – these are the players South Africa have lost the services of in the last decade due to retirements.
It is a team stuck in a loop of transition. No wonder, they are far from the dominant force they used to be. For the current crop to even dare match the excellence of these legends, they need to play. And South Africa no longer play as much Test cricket as they once used to. Clearly, it is not the best time for them to come against a team – even if it’s in their den – that has made changing norms and breaching fortresses routine.
India have problems of their own, but they are a team that does not let it affect their game. Their decorated middle-order seems to have forgotten the art of scoring runs (big runs, at least), but they manage it without them. When a senior pacer endures wicketless spells, the youngsters step up and fill for him. A middle-order batter is suddenly made to open in the injury-forced absence of a regular, he goes on to make the spot his own. This is what successful teams do: they find ways out, make things work, and continue to win.
India started 2021 with a victory for the ages in Brisbane, handing Australia their first defeat at the venue in 32 years, and followed that with record wins in England, including one at The Oval after 50 years, before breaching fortress Centurion in South Africa.
They kickstart 2022 at a venue that has been far friendlier than any of the ones they ended up conquering in the last 365 days: India are yet to lose at the Wanderers, having won two and drawn three; it was the 63-run win during the 2018 tour that Kohli termed the start of something great.
Unlike that instance, when India went to Johannesburg after conceding the series, they went this time with a 1-0 lead, bundling South Africa out for sub-200 totals twice in their fortress. They now stand only one such effort away to make history – again – by winning their first-ever Test series in the land of Proteas.
The victory in Centurion was a perfect script for India, where capitalising upon crucial moments gave them the luxury to afford a slip-up or two.
Take for instance the first innings collapse India endured on the third morning, folded for 327 after starting 272/3. Then, in isolation of the 130-run lead, their second innings tally of 174 was fairly ordinary. The giant lead, however, meant they left South Africa chasing a target that is yet to be chased in Centurion’s Test history. KL Rahul’s Player of the Match 123 was assuring, as was the show of the the Indiana Pacers, who scalped 18 of the 20 South African wickets.
For South Africa, keeping aside Dean Elgar’s 77 and Temba Bavuma’s brief resistances in both innings, there was not another effort worth looking back in the batting department. And it this pale show that offset the efforts of Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi and debutant Marco Jansen.
Funny things have happened in cricket, but funnier would be to not brand India the favourites even now. But notwithstanding all that happened last week, South Africa are still playing in their home conditions, and cannot still be written off no matter how difficult at this stage forging a comeback may appear.
SOUTH AFRICA VS INDIA MATCH DETAILS:
Match: South Africa vs India, 2nd Test, South Africa vs India Test Series
Date and Time: January 3rd 2021, Monday, 01:30 PM IST
Venue: Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
SOUTH AFRICA VS INDIA WEATHER FORECAST
The temperature in Johannesburg is expected to range between 14 and 26 degrees Celsius on the opening day of the Test. There is rain predicted over the next five days and we might witness rain-interruptions during the course of the match.
PITCH AND CONDITIONS
Wanderers is bouncier and pacier than any other surface in South Africa, and under overcast conditions, it is expected to be the perfect bowlers’ paradise, with plenty of swing on offer. That said, the small ground dimensions and a quick outfield means the margin of error is small too.
PLAYING COMBINATIONS FOR SOUTH AFRICA VS INDIA
Quinton de Kock was always set to miss the remaining Tests of the series on account of his paternity leave. As it stands now, he will miss every Test South Africa play from hereon. That means at least one change is certain – with Kyle Verreynne coming to do the glove job.
Duanne Olivier, who missed the Boxing Day Test due to the Covid-19 aftereffects, is likely to be brought in at the expense of the off-colour Wiaan Mulder, given “player of the game” in Dean Elgar’s words – Marco Jansen – redeemed himself in the second innings (4/55) after an unruly start.
- Dean Elgar (c)
- Aiden Markram
- Keegan Petersen
- Rassie van der Dussen
- Temba Bavuma
- Kyle Verreynne (wk)
- Marco Jansen
- Kagiso Rabada
- Keshav Maharaj
- Lungi Ngidi
- Duanne Olivier
Why change that which needs no change? India might have an odd temptation to slot Hanuma Vihari or Shreyas Iyer in, but after a fluent 48, it seems Ajinkya Rahane might just hold his place, with India fielding the winning combination.
SA VS IND HEAD-TO-HEAD
- KL Rahul
- Mayank Agarwal
- Cheteshwar Pujara
- Virat Kohli (c)
- Ajinkya Rahane
- Rishabh Pant (wk)
- Ravichandran Ashwin
- Shardul Thakur
- Mohammed Shami
- Jasprit Bumrah
- Mohammed Siraj
Played – 40 | South Africa – 15 | India – 15 | Draw – 10
IN SOUTH AFRICA
Played – 21 | South Africa – 10 | India – 4 | Draw – 7
SOUTH AFRICA VS INDIA MATCH PREDICTION
India were brilliant in the first Test of the series to win the game despite a full day being washed out due to rain. Virat will be looking to keep leading in the same way, whereas the Proteas need to be at their absolute best to level the series.
India have a good balance to their side and it won’t be a surprise if they get to seal the series with a game to go.
PREDICTION: INDIA TO WIN THIS ENCOUNTER.